Classroom Assessment of Computer-Assisted Language Learning: Developing a Strategy for College Faculty
This work examines trends in CALL research and postulates strategies for classroom assessment of CALL. To illustrate, a pilot study designed to evaluate a music-based multimedia program is described. A group of 25 mid-advanced Spanish students, enrolled in a college-level introductory literature course, participated in the study. The study was based on a paired replicates design. Differences between the pre and post observations were used to assess the effect of the treatment. The results support the hypothesis that the simultaneous presentation of spoken and written language through multimedia can substantially improve listening skills. Interestingly, however, the specific parameters that were used to assess reading comprehension did not show an improvement, which may raise a question about methodological sensitivity. Students reported dramatic improvement of listening skills, residual learning and greater reliance on music for language learning. Of importance, as well, was the outcome of individual students' assessments showing an over-whelming preference for CALL vs. traditional methods, indicating the value of this approach towards promoting a positive learning environment in the classroom. Overall, the study succeeded in identifying a viable methodological avenue for the objective assessment of CALL, aimed at evaluating and quantifying its effectiveness in language acquisition. A focus on objective assessment of these emerging technologies will enable faculty to improve the usefulness of CALL and guide its implementation within the language teaching community.